Q&A: The Role of the Spirit in Conversion

The Role of the Spirit in Conversion

What is the Holy Spirit's role in conversion?

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Answer

If we define conversion as "repentance plus faith," the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is behind both of those things. Ephesians 2:1 says that we are dead in trespasses and sins before we are regenerated. So, the Holy Spirit's gifts of repentance and faith are instrumental in our salvation, otherwise we would remain dead in sin. We would just remain unable. You know, our wills are bound. Our wills are unable to respond to God apart from something that God does to us. So, we believe that the Holy Spirit is the one who is actively at work convicting the heart. You know, there is this concept of effectual calling. That's where the Holy Spirit enlightens the mind, sort of turns on the light bulb. For example, I remember in my life—I know that not everybody has this experience—but I can actually remember a key moment in my own spiritual journey where I sensed that the light bulb came on. I was a college junior talking to a Christian who was sharing the Scriptures with me, and I really felt in that moment that the light bulb came on. I believe that's the work of the Holy Spirit.

Answer by Rev. Mike Osborne

Rev. Mike Osborne is Associate Pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Orlando, FL